I have tried many times over the last few years to kick this addiction once and for all, but somehow, I always managed to be lured back into its clutches after a few weeks, or even after a 6 month quit. I thought I had it beaten! I think it must have been the "just one" lie which got me the last time. I smoked for another couple of years before I found the will power to try again. Every time I failed, I felt ashamed. Other people were quitting and staying quit, but I kept falling by the wayside, and smoking more as a result. How could they get it right and not me?
I began smoking at 13 years of age...just one or two with a friend in the evenings when we were out. In those days, many moons ago, we were able to buy loose cigarettes, usually unfiltered, from any shop! We would each have our money, and the bravest one of us would walk in, hoping not to bump into anyone we knew, and buy 4 cigarettes! Two each for the coming evening, usually smoked outside, behind the youth club. It was hidden, a dirty little secret, even in those days. My parents would have murdered me had they found out, though they were both smokers themselves. I didn't "come out" with the fact that I smoked till I was working, around 16 years old. I smoked about 10 a day then!
So it continued...
I never thought of the damage I was doing to myself. I felt exciting, in the swing of things, and accepted as an adult. So I had a bad cough after a cold, and my teeth weren't as white as my sister's, who never smoked. I no longer played any sports, but most of my friends smoked, so I never felt different.
I met and married my husband Paul when we were 22, both smoking like chimneys. I had 2 children by the time I was 26, and life went on as normal. We smoked around our children, never thinking it would be doing them any harm. They both begged us to stop when they learned about the dangers of smoking. We just rolled our eyes at each other, patronizingly poo-pooing their pleas. We weren't going to die! Other people did that!
My son has never smoked, while my daughter does, starting when she was 18. We never thought she would! My parents quit smoking, my aunts quit smoking, but they were older. I had loads of time to quit further down the line. Paul's mother died from a heart attack at only 55, after suffering a brain hemorrhage the year before, both smoking related illnesses. And still we smoked.
At age 36, I had a child with profound mental and physical retardation. We moved outside to smoke, as she had such trouble breathing, and we didn't want to add to that! Thank God no doctor ever said to us that Sinead's condition was smoking related. I couldn't have borne that guilt!
My father died a few years later from cancer throughout his body, as well as emphysema - already damaged even though he had quit for years. Still I smoked, even as he asked me on his deathbed to try to stop. I did mean to, but thought that I had too many worries to cope with. How would I cope without a smoke?! Little did I know then, the smoking was only adding to my inability to cope, clouding my whole world in smoke.
Sinead died after almost 11 years in our home. I smoked more than ever. Paul had a stent inserted into a valve in his heart - caused by blockage, smoking related! We both quit for awhile then, began to exercise more, and for the first time, realized that we were not invincible, and would surely die of some horrible disease if we didn't give it a darned good try! Even though I intended to cheat while Paul was at work, and then pretend to be smober when he came home, I found that the only person I was cheating was myself. After a spell of self-loathing, I put my heart and soul into it!
This is our last and most successful quit. Both of us still feel that we will never smoke again. I only wish we could have found this strength of purpose before. I know that this wonderful forum has kept me focused, and educated me fully about the addiction to nicotine, and how to beat it. I have found a peace this time, which I had never experienced before...an awareness of my world and everything in it. I have an abundance of energy, a joy in living, more confidence than ever before, and after 11 months of smobriety, I am more committed to this quit than ever before!
This forum has definitely saved my life. I have met the most genuine, wonderful people, all willing to support eachother, and also share some of the best laughs I've ever had!
To any newcomer looking in here, I would say to stay awhile, read and post, and the magic of this place will embrace you too.
"Don't pout, put it out!"
Anna's 2 Year Milestone
Last Updated: 2-13-06